We at Y-Ddraig would like to thank Jackson for taking time away from his studies to answer our questions.
1. You joined the Cardiff Fire in 2016 after playing all your previous years in Swindon. What prompted the decision to join the Fire?
Answer:- The move was prompted by me getting an offer to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I was in conversation with Cudd over the summer of that year and as soon as I had my place confirmed I trialled for the team and ended up joining.
2. How was the experience of being called up to represent GB in the winter Universiade?
Answer:- It was an unbelievable experience. I went from playing NIHL 2 in Cardiff in front of, what was at the time, the biggest crowds I played in front of, to walking out in front of 14,000 people in a packed arena for the opening ceremony. I’m now able to say I’ve played against the likes of Canada, Slovakia and the USA which not many players from this country are able to say and had two weeks solely focussed on Hockey which was just so much fun.
3. Who is the best player that you have played with?
Answer:- That’s a hard one. I’ve been really lucky to play with a lot of different players throughout juniors and seniors. A few of the boys I’ve grown up with are now joining up with teams in the Elite League like Cam McGiffin and Oli Stone, and obviously, the boys in Cardiff like Sammy and Elis have been great to play with the last couple of seasons, so it would be hard to just name one.
4. Who is the best player that you have played against?
Answer:- Although I don’t have any specific memory of playing against him, I would have to say Brendan Perlini. I’m sure anyone in British Ice Hockey knows who is due to him being the only British born player currently playing in the NHL. In terms of players I have memory playing against, I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint this to one player but it would definitely be a member of the Canadian team we played in the Winter Universiade. Their team was stacked with ex-Major Junior A players, many of whom are now plying their trade in top professional leagues in both North America and Europe.
5. I would guess that during your time with Swindon Wildcats you must have played Cardiff Fire. Who was your toughest opponent in those games?
Answer:- To be honest, I don’t remember too much from those games, however, there is one memory that sticks out and that would be Ross Wilkinson following me around after a slightly late hit telling me to keep my head up aha!
6. Why number 82?
Answer:- I’ve never actually been able to answer this question. When I was in juniors, the Swindon Wildcats Academy revamped their image and with that came the ability to purchase new shirts with any number from 22-98 (the lower numbers were the team owned shirts). I just picked a random number and then have stuck with it ever since.
7. What is your nickname in the locker room?
Answer:- Unfortunately, I don’t have any of interest in Elis’ being Ruth. The main two have always been Pricey or Jax.
8. Do you play any other sports and do you have any favourite sporting teams?
Answer:- With the demands of University and Ice Hockey I don’t particularly have time for any other sports especially to be committed to them. However, growing up I used to play a variety and have been in teams for Cricket, Hockey, Basketball and Football. I do try and follow a few teams like Swindon Town in football and try and keep up to date with most of the internationals whether that’s in Football or Rugby but I wouldn’t call myself an avid supporter.
9. Who has been your biggest influence in Ice Hockey?
Answer:- I wouldn’t really say I have an influence as much, but I’ve always aimed to do the best for my parents. Throughout juniors they made the sacrifices for both me and my brother, not only covering all the fees for equipment etc. but taking us to all the games which meant giving up pretty much every weekend throughout the winter. Even now they watch as many games as they can whether that’s them making the trip to IAW or watching on the live stream, and they even got up at 5am to follow the games while I was in Kazakhstan. They always do their best to keep up, so I always make sure I do my best out there.
10. How are you enjoying the challenge of playing in NIHL 1 and how big is the step up in quality?
Answer:- Well as you put it, it is definitely a challenge. We’ve gone from playing teams in NIHL 2 who are mostly self-funded through subs and train once a week to teams like Peterborough and Swindon, who have large budgets and players that train 4 or 5 days a week both with their clubs and some with Elite League teams. The change in quality is massive and you do get punished by the mistakes you make as more and more lead to goals conceded, however like the Universiade it is a chance for me to play against a higher level of opposition and I’m relishing every moment of it.
11. What is your proudest moment in Hockey so far?
Answer:- Would definitely have to be beating South Korea at the Winter Universiade, it was the first win GB have ever recorded in Men’s Ice Hockey at the competition so to be a part of that was definitely a proud moment for me.
12. You seem to have a very aggressive style on the ice. Would this be a true reflection and do you enjoy the rough stuff and big hits out there?
Answer:- Yeah I think it’s a fair reflection. I tend to try and finish a lot of hits during the game although I wouldn’t really describe them as ‘big’. It’s always been what I love about Hockey, it’s a very skilful game but at the same time there’s a lot of aggression within it and I’ve definitely always enjoyed that side of it.
13. What do you hope to do when you complete university?
Answer:- Well I’m currently studying a degree in Sports Performance Analysis. I hope to take my studies and apply them to Hockey once I’ve finished and pursued a career in either Performance Analysis or Video Coaching within Ice Hockey, whether that’s in this country or abroad.
14. Who are your favourite NHL team and favourite NHL player ?
Answer:- My favourite NHL team is the Toronto Maple Leafs and my favourite player would be Mitch Marner.
15. Who are your favourite Elite league team and favourite elite league player?
Answer:- My favourite Elite League team would be the Cardiff Devils but I’ve never actually watched an Elite League game and don’t follow it enough to have a favourite player.
16. We recently did an interview with your teammate Elis Sheppard where he revealed one of his many nicknames was “Ruth” but was rather reluctant to reveal why. Are you able to shed some light or is this a team secret?
Answer:- Although I’d love to share the story, I think it’s best left to everyone’s imagination.
Feature Picture Credit: James Assinder Photography.
Follow James on Twitter @JamesAssinder.
Search James Assinder Photography on Facebook.